All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Poultry Processing, Vermont’s GMO Labeling Bill, and Open Source Seeds

Photo: Shutterstock.

1. USDA Criticized for “Misleading” Claims about Worker Safety in Poultry Plants (Washington Post) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to speed up poultry processing lines by up to 25 percent has faced fierce opposition from food safety, worker rights, and animal rights advocates since the proposal was first floated in 2012. Now, the agency is under… Read More

‘Walmarting’ Organics: Who Wins?

Walmart Grocery Checkout Line in Gladstone, Missouri. Photo courtesy of the Walmart Corporate Flickr account.

Wal-Mart announced last week that it will soon start partnering with Wild Oats to sell organic pantry items like tomato paste and broth at prices as low as 25 percent below other name-brand organic products. What could be wrong with that? In the short term, probably nothing. But in the long term, it could ultimately… Read More

How a Design Student Cracked the Code to High Fructose Corn Syrup

First published in the March-April 2014 edition of Edible Manhattan. Photographs by Kate LeSueur.

This article was published in the March-April 2014 edition of Edible Manhattan.

Prior to grad school at Parsons, Maya Weinstein’s mediums included fine art photography and digital collage. But for her master’s thesis she settled on a stickier subject: High-fructose corn syrup.

“There are a lot of videos and articles on the web that talk about how scary and bad HFCS is for you, but there’s not really any information about what it actually is or how it’s made,” says Weinstein, a recent graduate of the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design. “I saw a void there that I wanted to fill.” Read More

7 Cities Pass Resolutions Urging Congress to Ban Unnecessary Antibiotics in Meat

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A new national grassroots campaign is aiming to boost awareness of the public health threat of antibiotic overuse in livestock production.

It’s been over a year since Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), a bill that would ban the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock. And it’s been almost 10 months since Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both bills remain stalled in their respective committees, however. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Cheap Organics, Anti-GMO-Labeling Bill, and Milk Hormones

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Walmart’s New Line of Organic Food will Undercut Big Brands (New York Times)

The big news this week was the new partnership between Walmart and Wild Oats, the former natural grocery store chain, which is rolling out a line of inexpensive organic products. Walmart only plans to carry the company’s shelf-stable pantry items for now, but the move could make a splash with both consumers and farmers. Read More

GRAS Out: Surprising Number of Unregulated Chemicals Found in Food

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If you don’t recognize all the high-tech ingredients available in food and drinks these days, you’re not alone. Some of these new additions—such as glucosamine hydrochloride, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), or soy isoflavone extract—might show up in product marketing, while others, such as milk protein concentrate, will not. But whether new food additives are being promoted or not, a report released this week by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) says their novelty isn’t the only reason we should be paying attention. Read More

The Elephant in the Garden: Study Urges Urban Growers to Tackle Soil Contamination

An urban garden in Baltimore, where the study was conducted. Photo by Jared Margulies.

Urban gardeners don’t like to talk about contaminated soil. After all, who wants to dwell on the chemical legacy of industry, illegal dumping, paint chips, and leaded gasoline when you can discuss bees, the weather, or the cool purple beans you’re growing?

But city growers must tackle this elephant-in-the-room subject. That’s the message Brent Kim, a program officer at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, wants you to know. Read More

Don’t Panic, Go Organic: The IPCC Report Should be a Wakeup Call for Climate-Smart Food

Photo courtesy of 350.org

The just-released synthesis report on global warming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prompted some to start name-dropping Thomas Malthus. Malthus, you may remember, was the 19th Century British economist and demographer who warned that population growth would inevitably lead to global food shortages. In a New York Times article just days after the long-awaited report was released, reporter Eduardo Porter wrote that the IPCC “rolled straight into Malthus’s territory, providing its starkest warning yet about the challenge imposed by global warming on the world’s food supply.”

So should we be stockpiling Chef Boyardee and plowing down forests for farms to forestall famine? Not so fast. Read More

The Other Fair Trade: Why Equitable Bananas Matter

Photo by Max Havelaar.

Americans might be used to buying Fair Trade chocolate and coffee, but bananas are an entirely different story. The Fair Trade banana industry began in Europe nearly two decades ago and while it currently represents 30 percent of the banana market in the United Kingdom and 50 percent of the market in Switzerland, less than one percent of the bananas sold in the U.S. are Fair Trade certified. Read More